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Archive for the ‘Schizophrenia’ Category

The AP(10/29, http://tinyurl.com/latuda1) reports The Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug from Sunovion Pharmaceuticals to treat adults with schizophrenia.   Schizohrenia affects about 1 percent of the U.S. population, causing hallucinations, paranoia and delusions.  The FDA approved Sunovion’s drug Latuda based on four studies that showed patients taking the drug had fewer schizophrenia symptoms than patients taking a placebo pill.  Latuda is part of the atypical antipsychotics drug class, which also includes Eli Lilly & Co.’s Zyprexa, Johnson & Johnson’s Risperdal and AstraZeneca’s Seroquel.  Those drugs were the top-selling group of prescription drugs in the U.S. last year, with combined sales of $14.6 billion.  Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. is based in Fort Lee, N.J. and is the U.S. subsidiary of Japanese drugmaker Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co.

“Latuda is an oral, once-daily atypical antipsychotic, offering a first-line treatment option for patients with schizophrenia and is expected to be available in the US during the first quarter of 2011,” Marlborough-based Sunovion said.  Sunovion recently changed its name from Sepracor, a company known for its Lunesta sleep aid. A year ago, Sepracor was acquired by Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., a Japanese drug maker.

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WebMD (2/1, DeNoon http://tinyurl.com/fishy-psychosis) reported that twelve weeks of fish oil pills made teens at high risk of psychosis much less likely to become psychotic for at least one year.   A year after entering the study, 11 of the 40 teens treated only with placebo pills developed a psychotic disorder.  This happened to only two of 41 teens who began the year with 12 weeks of fish oil capsules rich in omega-3 fatty acids.    “The finding that treatment with a natural substance may prevent or at least delay the onset of psychotic disorder gives hope that there may be alternatives to antipsychotics for the prodromal phase”, Amminger and colleagues suggest.    People with schizophrenia tend to have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids, suggesting that the mental illness could be linked to a defect in the ability to process fatty acids.  There’s also evidence that fatty acids interact with chemical signaling in the brain and that omega-3 fatty acids protect brain cells from oxidative stress.  The study appears in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (January 8, 2010) – Mental illness remains one of Western society’s greatest taboos.  Those who suffer from various mental health disorders often suffer in silence, with very little support from society.  Family members and other loved ones of those afflicted also suffer and are often forced to understand and cope alone.  The loneliness, fear and frustration that this can cause is difficult for most people to understand.  And this isolation can be far worse when you’re a child of a bipolar, schizophrenic or otherwise mentally ill parent.  Von Allan, a Canadian graphic novelist, has attempted to shed some light on this subject with the publication of his first full-length graphic novel, titled “the road to god knows…”.  It can be purchased online at http://tinyurl.com/amazon-von-allan.  “My mom was diagnosed schizophrenic when I was quite young, maybe 11 or so,” said Allan.  “She suffered a number of nervous breakdowns as I was growing up, as she battled, often very much alone, a disease that was slowly taking bits of her away. ”   “I wrote and drew this book to shed some light on a very hush-hush topic and hopefully help others, especially kids but really people of all ages, realize that they aren’t alone and that they haven’t done anything wrong.  And neither has the person who is suffering from mental illness.”  “The road to god knows…” is the story of Marie, a teenage girl coming to grips with her Mom’s schizophrenia.  You can learn more about Von Allan at http://tinyurl.com/vonallan.

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The AP (http://tinyurl.com/long-lasting-zyprexa 12/15) reports Drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co said regulators have approved a longer-lasting version of its top-selling drug, the anti-psychotic Zyprexa.  The Food and Drug Administration approved Zyprexa Relprevv, an injection that can last up to four weeks, for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults.  Patients on Zyprexa currently take a pill daily. Lilly also makes a fast-acting injection of the drug that can be absorbed by the body in a few hours to treat agitation.  For the new version, patients will visit their doctors every two or four weeks to receive the injection, spokeswoman Janell Smith said.  She said the longer-lasting version makes it easier for patients to stay on the medication, and it allows doctors to track whether they’re doing that since they have to make office visits for the injections. 

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Medscape (http://tinyurl.com/marijuana-and-early-psychosis 11/18) reported that, according to a study published in the Nov. issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, “daily use of cannabis or tobacco has been linked to an earlier age of onset of prodromal and psychotic symptoms.” In a study of “109 patients (24% women) aged 18 to 40 years” who “were experiencing a first episode of psychotic symptoms,” Emory University School of Medicine researchers “classified patients according to their frequency of cannabis, alcohol, and tobacco use…before the onset of prodromal and psychotic symptoms.” After examining “changes in substance use over time,” the team discovered “significant effects of progression to both daily cannabis use and daily tobacco use on the risk for onset of psychosis,” with “a greater effect in” females.

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FanaptThe Washington Post (11/2, Musgrove http://tinyurl.com/new-antipsychotic-Fanapt) reports that , “Early next year, if all goes according to plan, doctors will be able to prescribe a new antipsychotic drug for patients with schizophrenia.  Fanapt, like other antipsychotic drugs, controls the way information is carried from one nerve cell to another and reduces the activities of some brain activity associated with schizophrenia. The compound blocks a different combination of neurotransmitters than earlier-generation antipsychotic drugs.  Fanapt targets a more relevant set of neurotransmitter receptors, so that patients are likely to suffer fewer side effects than with other medications.

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dnaMutations in the dystrobrevin binding protein 1 gene (DTNBP1), which has been known to be associated with schizophrenia, may also be associated with bipolar disorder (http://tinyurl.com/DTNBP1).   There has always been a suspicion that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may have a common genetic cause.   The DTNBP1 gene is a potential genetic link between the two disorders.  The gene codes for dystrobrevin binding protein 1. 

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dnaMedwire (10/23, Davenport) reports, “Disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) gene variants play a role in the development of psychiatric illness yet there is significant heterogeneity in clinically relevant variants between populations,” according to a study  (http://tinyurl.com/DISC1-gene) in Molecular Psychiatry. “Although schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder (BD), major depression, autism, and Asperger syndrome have all been linked to DISC1, no actual causal variants have been identified.” But, after genotyping study participants “for the presence of 75 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the translin-associated protein X and DISC1 genes,” investigators discovered that “rs1538979 SNP was significantly associated with BD I males” and “the rs821577 SNP was significantly linked with BD females…at odds ratios of 2.73 and 1.64, respectively.”

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inflammation MedWire (10/22, Davenport) reports that, according to a study ( http://tinyurl.com/inflammation-in-mental-illness)  published online Oct. 14 in the journal Bipolar Disorders, patients with “bipolar disorder and schizophrenia” may “have specific significant increases in endothelium-related inflammatory markers in comparison with healthy individuals.” University of Oslo researchers “measured plasma soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor 1 (sTNF-R1), interleukin (IL)-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra), IL-6, high-sensitivity C reactive protein (hs-CRP), soluble CD40L ligand,” and “von Willebrand factor (vWF) levels in 125 bipolar disorder patients, 186 schizophrenia patients, and 244 healthy controls.” They found that “the combined patient groups had significantly higher plasma levels of sTNF-R1 and vWF compared with healthy controls, at increases of 17 percent and 27 percent, respectively,” as well as “significantly increased” hs-CRP levels.

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chromosome 1MedWire (10/14, Czyzewski) reports that, according to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, patients with schizophrenia “who have particularly severe negative symptoms appear to share a genetic vulnerability at chromosome 1q.” Researchers from Australia’s Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research “performed genetic analysis of 1,236 Han Chinese individuals with a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia who were members of a large affected sibling-pair sample,” using “latent class (LC) analysis to stratify patients into subgroups.” The team found that a condition “resembling deficit schizophrenia” was “significantly linked to chromosome 1q23-25 with a” logarithm of odds “score of 3.78.”

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